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In-flight entertainment (IFE) supplier Gogo is taking all the available capacity on an SES satellite, AMC-4. SES will shift the satellite from its current orbital spot at 67 degrees West, to a new position. AMC-4 is being replaced by SES-10 which launched at the end of March.
Gogo will use the new capacity to serve aircraft flights to, from and within the states of Alaska and Hawaii, flights along the west coast of the US and flights over the Pacific Ocean.
“One of the great benefits of the Ku ecosystem is the on-demand flexibility it offers us. Gogo’s scale and the scale of our satellite providers, with dozens of satellites in orbit, puts us in a unique position to deploy industry-leading capacity to any area of the globe,” said Michael Small, President/CEO at Gogo. “We’re also unique in that the capacity we are deploying is dedicated to the aero market and not shared with ground subscribers, maritime or other markets.”
The agreement between SES and Gogo is far from the first that the pair have struck. Gogo has pre-booked capacity from upcoming satellites SES-14 and SES-15, and also on SES-12 which all launch this year.
AMC-4 was itself launched in 1999 (by General Electric as Americom-4), and part of Americom’s fleet which SES bought in 2001. Its planned life was for some 15 or so years which would have put its normal end-of-life as 2014-2015. However, it is reportedly working well and one of the key advantages of a satellite which is nearing the end of life for direct-to-home operation is that it would still be usable by aircraft. Once the satellite is moved to its new position it could gently – and slowly – be permitted to adopt an ‘inclined’ orbit position, but this would be wholly acceptable for aircraft broadband and video transmission usage.